The following is a response letter by Paul Malcomson in the Irish New to an article written by Roy Galand in 'The Monday Column' on (24/05/2004) called 'Evangelicals 'are not free from sins'. It opened up a discussuion on the Roman Catholic Church in that paper on which the editor of this site was able to outline the evengelical perspective of the same church.
I feel compelled in some way to respond to the article written by Roy Garland in The Monday Column entitled “Evangelicals ‘are not free from sins’,” as he quotes myself and the book I wrote Behind Closed Doors to support his argument. Whilst, he makes some valid points in relation to the Orange Order and its members, rightly highlighting the fact that “most Protestants are lost sinners as is reflected during the July 12 Belfast Orange demonstration.” His article is decidedly one-sided and creates as many questions as it provide answers.
Firstly, his main premise that evangelicals are wrong to oppose the Catholic Church or to reach out to Catholic Priests in evangelism simply because there is a percentage of misguided evangelicals within the Orange Order, is flawed at very least. Such an argument could be credibly sustained if it was focused upon those particular evangelicals within the “loyal orders” that would attempt such hypocrisy, but it is not. Rather, he chides two particular non-Orange evangelical ministers on the basis of the sins of others, thus undermining his overall hypothesis of “judge not that ye be not judged.” In fact, one of the ministers he attacks Rev. Foster bravely declared in his Church review of my expose of this Orange paganism, “Those being initiated become involved in a denial of gospel truth that beggars belief. This can not rest easily upon any Christian's conscience.” At least in condemning the Roman Catholic Church the Rev. Foster also equally condemns the sins of the Orange Order, something that Mr Garland fails to do in his article.
Secondly, Mr Garland’s defence of the Christian credentials of the Catholic Church is weak and unconvincing, especially allowing for the numerous sexual scandals that are driving multitudes of young Catholics away from the domain of their own church. Not to mention the many sins committed by that church through the centuries that still remain un-repented of. His argument is mistakenly built upon a typical Ulster sandy foundation, which John Hume rightly terms ‘what-aboutery’. In short, let’s point out the sins of the other camp/religion to the exclusion of the similar transgressions of the other.
My position is simple, but sadly not common in Ulster/Irish religious circles, both the Orange Order and Catholic Church are religious institutions that share equal blame for the religious bigotry, hatred and intolerance that still blights both communities on the island of Ireland. Rather than being a true reflection of the nature, love and message of Christ and being a mirror of the godly New Testament Church they have become dilapidated religious structures that belong to a by-gone day in history. Both institutions possess rituals, teaching and practices that are alien to New Testament Scripture and are therefore an anathema to a thrice-holy God. Both create their own tailor-made salvation on the flawed basis of “good works” rather than simple faith in Christ and His finished work at the Cross. The Christ that both of these religious institutions profess to follow was the ultimate representation of love and sacrifice. At Calvary, the sinner’s guilt was transferred or imputed to Him; all we must do is receive that gift today by faith. 1 Peter 3:18 says, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust"
The answer to Ireland’s problems is not found in failed religious structures or political systems – but rather in the life and message of the Lord Jesus Christ who declared in John 7:37, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” Catholics and Protestants can only be truly united on this island through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Paul Malcomson, Evangelical Truth
Irish News Article by Roy Garland